Watch Lost World (1925), the Granddaddy of Giant Monster Movies Like The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Movie audi­ences love dinosaurs. Ask the mak­ers of Juras­sic World, a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s ven­er­a­ble fran­chise that raked in over $1.5 bil­lion this year. There is some­thing about see­ing humanity’s ambi­tions crum­ble in the face of a mas­sive, toothy lizard (or are they sup­posed to be a giant feath­er­less bird now?) that just cap­tures the imag­i­na­tion of the inner 5 year-old in all of us.

So if you enjoyed Juras­sic World, you will dig The Lost World (1925), the grand­dad­dy of giant mon­ster movies. Adapt­ed from Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 nov­el, the sto­ry of The Lost World should be famil­iar to any­one who has watched King Kong or The Lost World: Juras­sic Park. The film is about an eccen­tric sci­en­tist, Pro­fes­sor Chal­lenger (played by Wal­lace Beery in a Karl Marx beard), who ven­tures to a South Amer­i­can plateau deep in the heart of the Ama­zon­ian jun­gle where dinosaurs still exist. When he cap­tures a Bron­tosaurus and lugs it back to Lon­don, the beast escapes and runs wild in the streets, smash­ing build­ings, stomp­ing on peo­ple and trash­ing cher­ished nation­al land­marks. Exot­ic loca­tions filled with equal­ly exot­ic crea­tures? Check. Implic­it cri­tique of man’s hubris­tic ambi­tion? Check. Way cool spe­cial effects? Check. Lost World has all the hall­marks of the genre even though it came out 90 years ago.


Audi­ences at the time were blown away by footage of tricer­atops, allosaurus­es and stegosaurus­es. Though they might seem about as ter­ri­fy­ing to today’s jad­ed audi­ences as a Gum­by car­toon, they were noth­ing short of a rev­e­la­tion in the 1920s. In 1922, Conan Doyle showed clips of the movie with­out reveal­ing its ori­gins to The Soci­ety of Amer­i­can Magi­cians, an audi­ence that includ­ed none oth­er than Har­ry Hou­di­ni. The next day, The New York Times breath­less­ly wrote that Conan Doyle’s “mon­sters of the ancient world, or of the new world which he has dis­cov­ered in the ether, were extra­or­di­nar­i­ly life­like. If fakes, they were mas­ter­pieces.” In fact, the dinosaurs were the handy work of Willis O’Brien who would take his expe­ri­ence on this film and make the 1933 mas­ter­piece King Kong.

You can watch the full movie above. And it will be added to our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:
Kim Jong-il’s Godzil­la Movie & His Free Writ­ings on Film The­o­ry

101 Free Silent Films: The Great Clas­sics

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing lots of pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.

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